New All-Party Parliamentary Group to campaign for tourism VAT reduction

A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the visitor economy has been established, with the hope of reducing tourism VAT.

Chris Parnham of Absolute Corporate Events
Chris Parnham of Absolute Corporate Events

The APPG’s purpose is to enhance local economies by promoting measures and incentives, including the reduction of VAT on tourism, which in turn should lead to an increase in the number of international events held in the UK.

The UK’s current rate of tourism VAT is almost twice the European average, undermining competitiveness against other countries.

"Anything to incentivise travel into the UK can only be a good thing," said Chris Parnham, managing director of Absolute Corporate Events. "We take for granted that London and the UK will attract people and we're often lazy in attracting new visitors. Anything that helps the wider tourism industry will have a positive effect on both business tourism and the events industry."

The news comes shortly after David Cameron announced plans to support the events industry with a new board, as part of a five-point plan for tourism where he referenced the importance of business tourism and events in the UK.

The APPG members include:

·         Margaret Ritchie MP (SDLP), Co-Chair

·         Nigel Huddleston MP (Conservative), Co-Chair

·         Albert Owen MP (Labour), Vice-Chair

·         Dr Philippa Whitford MP (SNP), Vice-Chair

·         Mark Williams MP (Liberal Democrat), Vice-Chair

·         Caroline Lucas MP (Green), Vice-Chair

·         Sammy Wilson MP (DUP), Vice-Chair

·         Danny Kinahan MP (UUP), Vice-Chair

·         Hywel Williams MP (Plaid Cymru), Vice-Chair

The British Hospitality Association was appointed as Secretariat to the APPG and will work with MPs to devise the group’s programme.

Nigel Huddleston MP, said tourism was an essential part of the UK economy and required support. "We want to challenge the current perception of tourism in the UK by emphasising the many benefits that it provides to our economy. Whilst we recognise and celebrate the success of London’s booming tourism industry, we aim to raise the profile of other tourist destinations across the UK."

More:

Events industry backs Heathrow expansion

BVEP urges government to act on events strategy

UK events industry votes Conservative

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